Monthly Archives: December 2010

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

By Shawn Despres

I’ve got one more selection to add to Dain’s rundown of Christmas gigs. Tomorrow night (December 24), Sunshine will present their first Christmas Eve party. Located in Hongdae between Sangu Station exit 1 and the Parking Street (right above Reggae Chicken), the very laid-back, surfing-inspired bar was opened in August by Sagitta‘s Lee Jung Eun and Lee Woo Sung (Woo Sung is also a member of Cocore).

The bash will include performances from Sagitta, The Drivers, and Sogyumo Acacia Band. Seo Sang Young and Choi Dong Nyuk will DJ between the gigs and there will be a photo show from Kim Ji Yang.

Sagitta will be focusing on new material during their set. The busy husband-and-wife duo are putting the finishing touches on their newly built home studio. They plan to begin recording their third full-length there in January.  When completed, the disc will be issued through through the band’s own Cub/Music  record label.

Sunshine recently expanded and includes more seating and tables. It also now has both smoking and non-smoking areas. Jung Eun and Woo Sung would like to start holding events at Sunshine on a more regular basis starting in the spring. They are currently thinking of different intimate concerts and DJ nights that can be organized for the space.

Sunshine’s Christmas Eve party starts at 8pm and the cover charge is 5,000 won. There are a few pictures of Sunshine and a small Korean map for the bar here.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Korea Gig Guide!

X-mas X-citement for all!

By Dain

As per usual, music gigs and the Christmas period go hand-in-hand in Korea!  There really are a plethora of events on offer, and there is something for everyone this weekend including;

– Kingston Rudie Ska with Re:Ska (includes all you can drink … but I hear tix are selling fast) Dec 24 @ DGDB.

– School pop/rock with Sweet Revenge, Dec 24 @ Soundholic City.

– DJ Doc, the Korean HipPop icons are touring their show, and will be in Bucheon Dec 24 and at Olympic Park Dec 25.

– Chang Kiha and the Faces return to V-Hall stage at 8pm on both the 24 & 25th.

– Club FF on the 25th has an awesome lineup, with Rux, Vanilla Unity, The Koxx, Bye Bye Sea, Yellow Monsters, acoustic duo WagWak, The Strikers, and up-and-comers Gloomy Monkeys.

– More loudness with Vassline, Samchung, Apollo 18, 13 Steps, Ninesin, Noeazy, National Pigeon Unity, and Rux Dec 25 @ SPOT

– Alternative rockers (and one of Seo Taiji’s fav bands) Pia are doing a double header at Ssamzzie Dec 24 and 25.

– JYP with The Dancer (for you pop lovers), Dec 24 @ Olympic Park

– National Pigeon Unity, Skasucks, Apollo 18, Dice, Galaxy Express are @ Spot on the 24th.

Plus many more. As always, check Korea Gig Guide’s concert calendar for more details on these and the many other gigs happening. 

Oh … and after supposedly almost coming here last year for the Peace at the DMZ concert that never happened, Carlos Santana is coming to Seoul in March.  Add him to the busy international list of visitors for early next year, which includes Eric Clapton, Mary J. Blige, Taylor Swift, Iron Maiden, Madonna, as well as indie acts CocoRosie, and Liars – so start getting excited for 2011.

Building Band & Brand Recognition

By Shawn Despres

In addition to Dain’s weekend picks, here’s another gig worth mentioning.  Logos Vol. 2 will take place tomorrow (December 19) at Kuchu-Camp in Hongdae.  Organized by Seoul shoegazers Swimmingdoll, the inaugural edition of the event took place on Halloween.  The sophomore Logos will include sets from Swimmingdoll, Poe, Kohji Isle, Pika (formerly of Loro’s), and No Respect For Beauty.

Swimmingdoll will have copies of their newly issued “8wimmingdoll” EP available at Logos Vol. 2.  The very cool Hyang Music in Sinchon has placed the disc on their “Indie Choice” list.

There’s a story about Swimmingdoll in this month’s Groove Korea magazine.  You can check it out here.

Logos Vol. 2 takes place on Sunday night at Kuchu-Camp.  Tickets are 10,000 won and the concert will start at 7 pm.

Ego-Wrappin’ Back For More

By Shawn Despres

One of the highlights at this summer’s Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, Ego-Wrappin’ are returning to South Korea this weekend for a Seoul gig at the spacious AX-Korea.

“We got such a great reaction from the crowd at Pentaport,” says front woman Yoshie Nakano. “We were surprised and filled with gratitude. It made us realize how music really can surpass borders.”

Accenting their upbeat jazzy cuts with bits of rock and reggae, the Japanese act are touring in support of their most recent disc, this fall’s “Naimono Nedari no Deddo Heeto.”

“We made the album earlier this year,” Nakano shares. “We recorded the songs as soon as we finished writing them.  It’s an album that’s poppy, but not pop.”

Playing 10 concerts in Japan and South Korea in December, passes for all nine of their domestic dates sold out well in advance. Tickets still remain for their Seoul show on Friday, December 17. Backed by The Gossip of Jaxx, Ego-Wrappin’ will have nine players on stage to help create what Nakano promises will be a very enjoyable night.

“This is our second time playing in Korea this year. Please come and see us. We will make sure you don’t regret it.”

The thousands who were excitedly bouncing around during the act’s energetic set under the scorching sun at Pentaport will definitely back up her claim, myself included.

Ego-Wrappin’ play AX-Korea on Friday. Tickets are 77,000 won in advance and the concert will start at 8 pm. For more information, visit

Club Day, Swagger and More

By Dain

As Mark previously mentioned, the month’s Club Day has been moved forward two whole weeks, to Dec. 17, to avoid the congested Christmas and New Year’s weekends. This Friday, 20,000 won gets you into over 20 clubs and live music venues from 9pm. There is a nice mix of big names and fresh faces with experienced campaigners like Galaxy Express, The RockTigers, Rux, Johnny Royal and Ynot? performing alongside newer groups like Yellow Monsters and Bye Bye Badman.

For some reason (and it has happened on at least three other occasions) Galaxy Express are kicking things off at 9pm-–why, I just don’t know. They are one of the best live bands around, and it seems such a waste to have them open the night. On the times they have closed out Club Day, it’s been pure dynamite. I hope next year sees them playing later on in the schedule.

One group playing at Club Day this week that I feel don’t get the attention they deserve is the pop/rock group Phonebooth. Taking their influence from Britpop among other genres, this five-piece have released a pair of great albums over the last two years, have put together some great videos, and always put on rocking live shows. “Got a Chance,” from last year’s debut release The Way to Live On, was one of my favorite songs of 2009.

They even have a few songs in English, so if you haven’t seen them yet, try a little Phonebooth this Friday. They are playing Club FF, and are scheduled to go on stage at 10pm.

Also happening this weekend, there is a hip hop double header at Yonsei University, the Mic Swagger Show. Things start at 8pm on Friday and at 7pm on Saturday. Both nights will feature some of the biggest and freshest names in Korean hip hop.

Friday features MC Sniper, along with Carrion, SoolJ, Eluphant, JJK and more. Saturday’s main act is Lee Ssang, with Swings, MYK (fresh from releasing his new EP), Rhyme A and more. The concerts take place at the Yonsei Centennial Hall, and tickets cost 30,000-40,000 won.

(Mark here: I just came across a website about hip hop in Korea, called Do You Know Hip Hop. Looks promising. And it has some information about the Mic Swagger shows).

Sundays have been quite busy for live music lately, and one venue that has been delivering has been Club Ta. A few weeks ago, they had Galaxy Express playing unplugged. Last weekend I got to see Cuba, Lowdown 30 and a triple guitar jam featuring both bands plus Ynot’s Kim Daewoo. And they have another great show booked for this Sunday, Ska Wars.

From 6pm, No. 1 Korean, Copy Machine and Lunatic will deliver a big helping of ska punk. It’s just 10,000 won for a great way to finish the weekend. Most are familiar with Copy Machine and No. 1 Korean, but perhaps not Lunatic. Here is some video for the uninitiated.

→Pia-no-jaC← Make A Quick Return

By Shawn Despres

The Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge event features Seoul’s Crying Nut and Vodka Rain with Tokyo acts 8otto and →Pia-no-jaC←.  The four groups played together in Japan last weekend and are teaming up again for a show on December 4 at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.

Tokyo duo →Pia-no-jaC← make very cool instrumental art-jazz with piano and cajon.  Formed in 2005, they’ve showcased their music at the likes of Japan’s renowned Fuji Rock Festival and overseas in France, Taiwan, and Thailand.  The band made their South Korean debut in late October at the Grand Mint Festival.

“Grand Mint was exciting because it was our first ever show in Korea,” shares cajon player Hiro.  “The audience was great.  Since our music is not widespread in Korea yet, we were surprised by the unbelievable energy they gave us.”

When their Japanese distributor, BounDee, offered the opportunity to return to Seoul a mere six weeks later to play the Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge concert, →Pia-no-jaC← happily accepted the inviation.  Hiro and his band mate Hayato have been brushing up on their Korean and familiarizing themselves with the local music scene in preparation.

“We spoke some Korean during our last show in Seoul,” says Hiro.  “The audience was very responsive, and it gave us a lot of confidence.  We are looking forward to doing an even better show for Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge and can’t wait to play in Korea this weekend.

“We didn’t know about the Korean groups on the bill until the event was announced.  We’ve researched them on the Internet and listened to some of their music, though.  We think they are all great melody makers.”

This summer →Pia-no-jaC← made a colloborative album with Daishi Dance called “Piano Project.”  In September the act also issued their fifth studio effort, “This Way Up.”

“With ‘This Way Up’ we tried to add a new color to our music,” explains Hiro.  “We challenged ourselves a lot.  And while we sometimes ended up failing, we gained a lot of experience making this disc.

“Our songs are all recorded live in the studio, so we think we did a good job packaging our live atmosphere into each of the recordings.”

In March they will release the third edition of their “Eat a Classic” series, which features the band putting their own spin on famed classical music pieces.  They’ll play two dozen dates in Japan to promote the effort.  Another large scale Japanese tour, which will see →Pia-no-jaC← gig in all 47 of the country’s prefectures, is being planned for next fall.  The group sold out their recent “This Way Up” domestic tour so their 2011 jaunts should do very well.

Extremely fun to watch perform, →Pia-no-jaC←inject an amazing amount of rock ‘n’ roll energy into their concerts as they mix together dynamic originals and highly entertaining covers.  I had the chance to see them at Fuji Rock in 2009 and they were easily one of the fest’s highlights.

“We never change our →Pia-no-jaC← style, no matter what country we are playing in,” says Hiro. “We have a limited amount of time to play at events like Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge, so we’ll slightly arrange the staging from our usual headliner shows.  We’re going to do our best to create a great performance.”

Saturday’s concert begins at 7 pm.  Tickets are 33,000 won in advance and 38,000 won at the door.  Bye Bye Badman have been tapped as the night’s openers.  Advance tickets can be bought here (Korean only).

Check out a September Japan Times story I wrote about →Pia-no-jaC← here.              
Check out live photos of the band from Fuji Rock 2010 here.